Sheep pen with a gate
Before we proceed, I would like to clarify the two images of a sheep pen that we can see here in John 10:1-10. The first one in verse two is an enclosure with a gate. The second one in verse nine is an enclosure without a gate. In the former, there is a gate. In the latter, the shepherd himself sits down and serves as the gate of the enclosure.
As a caveat, in the previous chapter (John 9), the Pharisees are investigating the healing of the man born blind. The man boldly tells the Pharisees that he believes that Jesus is from God. He believes that Jesus is the Messiah. The Pharisees claim that they are disciples of Moses and they do not know where Jesus has come from. The Pharisees are supporting themselves in their opposition to Christ; that they are the pastors of the Jews and Jesus has no authority from them so therefore the people should not listen to Him.
Sheep pen without a fixed gate
In response, here the Lord describes the true shepherd of the flock and the relationship that exists between the shepherd and his flock through a parable but the Pharisees have not understood. The Lord here reveals Himself as the true shepherd- the Good Shepherd.
I propose the following points for reflection, which I will discuss in the next posts:
- A sheep is one of the weakest animals.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Gate of the sheep pen and we are the sheep of His pasture.
- Sheep are meek and obedient.
- The evil one aims to destroy us.
Allow me to invite you to follow the next posts…
Jesus, the Good Shepherd
This is my favorite image of the Lord, being our Good Shepherd. For me it is one of the most comforting attribute of the Lord. It gives the assurance of His personal loving care and protection.
In Matthew 18:12-14, the Lord has shown us a picture of how a good shepherd cares for each of his sheep. He would leave the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one that has wandered away. He would not let even just one sheep wander too far away. Apostle Paul has called the Lord, the great Shepherd of the sheep and He would not let anyone of us who come under his pastoral care perish.
In the book, “The Lord is my Shepherd”, F.B. Meyer has written: “The Lord has a:
- Shepherd’s heart– it beats with pure and generous love that counted not His own life-blood too dear to pay down as our ransom. He has laid down his life for the sheep. In the Old Testament image, the sheep gives up his life for his shepherd or owner as according to the law. The owner/shepherd would take the lamb to the sanctuary, lean with all his weight on the lamb’s head and confess his sin. The Lamb would be slain and its blood would flow out. The greatest irony of faith is that the Great Shepherd has laid His life down on the cross in order that the sheep might be saved.
- Shepherd’s eye: takes in the whole flock and misses not even the poor sheep wandering away on the cold mountain.
- Shepherd’s faithfulness: never fails or forsakes, leaves us comfortless, nor flee when He sees a wolf coming.
- Shepherd’s strength: delivers us from the jaw of the lion or paw of the bear.
- Shepherd’s tenderness: no lamb so tiny that He will not carry it; no saint so weak that He will not gently lead; no soul so faint that He will not give it rest”.
I invite you to follow the succeeding posts about “The Lord is our Shepherd”.
Image above courtesy of: http://www.sodahead.com/united-states
Condensed from a sermon by: Arnel Oroceo, Church Organist, The Lagro United Methodist Church, May 15, 2011